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Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to a Lovely Lady and Beyond by [Henderson, Florence]
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Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to a Lovely Lady and Beyond Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"If you think you know Florence Henderson-think again. Her journey is both inspirational and jaw dropping. She is one gutsy lady."―"Judge Judy" Sheindlin

"I count Florence as one of my dearest friends. Now I count her as one of my favorite story tellers. I have always loved the way she looks at life with humor and inspiration. This book proves that-in spades!"―Carol Burnett

"The teenaged Florence Henderson only needed a one-way ticket to Broadway when she left her hometown in Southern Indiana. The great Rodgers and Hammerstein quickly recognized in her what the rest of us would also soon discover -a big talent matched with an even bigger human spirit."―Bill Cosby

About the Author

Florence Henderson is most well-known for her role as Carol Brady on TV's The Brady Bunch, but she started her career on the stage, in musicals such as Oklahoma! and South Pacific. She starred on Broadway in the long-running musical Fanny, and in 1962, she became the first woman to guest host The Tonight Show. Her talent for skit comedy also allowed her to make frequent appearances on Dean Martin's variety show. In 1968, she was cast as Carol Brady on the popular TV sitcom, which ran from 1968 to 1974, and is still on air today.

Joel Brokaw coauthored Tyler Perry's #1 New York Times bestseller Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings.

Product Details

  • File Size: 8343 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1599953889
  • Publisher: Center Street; 1 edition (September 20, 2011)
  • Publication Date: September 20, 2011
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004QX077I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #603,845 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Holly Weiss VINE VOICE on September 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Florence Henderson, best known for her role as Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch opens up about the challenges of her life. Her childhood, stage fright, divorce, and hearing loss are but a few highlights. Her memoir, Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to a Lovely Lady and Beyond is co-authored with Joel Brokaw. Her ability to survive despite setbacks shines throughout the book. She notes that her memoir is written, "as a natural consequence of forgiveness and compassion, not only for those who harmed me, but most importantly, for myself."

You may be surprised that this woman, best-known for her role as a cheerful, handle-it-all mother of a large blended family grew up in an abusive home, the youngest of ten children. In short, Carol Brady was the kind of mother Florence Henderson desperately wished she had. She left home at seventeen, suitcase in hand, with a one-way ticket to New York City and a life full of hope. She had a talent for singing and a desire to be on the stage. Her destination? The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Taming her complex accent of southern drawl and mid-western twang was an essential part of her early acting lessons. She writes fondly of her singing and acting training and admits that learning how to portray sad feelings was a challenge. Auditioning for her first role, a rite of passage for any actor, gave her a break. She joined the cast of Wish You Were Here and subsequently signed with an agent. Soon she landed the lead role in a tour of Oklahoma. Her television career launched when she became the first "Today Show Girl." She claims the famous television series, The Brady Bunch, was a small part of her list of credits. Read to the book to hear her account of other triumphs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Florence Henderson's autobiography is unflinchingly candid. She writes in detail about her sad childhood filled with poverty and neglect, her Broadway and nightclub successes, her two marriages, and, of course, her days as Carol Brady. Her extra-marital flings were surprising as was her life-changing introduction to the world of hypno-therapy.

I was expecting more detail about her years on "The Brady Bunch," but she doesn't spend much time on it, dwelling more on her stage career. Her life has been one adventure after another and she shows no signs of slowing down. The book is very compelling and enjoyable. Her fans will love it.
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Format: Hardcover
Henderson has tried to break her image of Mrs. Brady but she doesn't here--instead she uses the pages to tell sweet stories and repeatedly talk about her own psychological problems. While it's interesting to hear some of the details about her past, there just aren't enough insightful stories about her career to make this more than a 3 and 1/2-star book at best. And since she is known for her naughty stories on TV talk shows, it's a bit disappointing to not see more of that personality here.

She tells readers up front that she isn't going to throw family members under the bus, yet she continually reminds us that almost every male relation that she mentions is called an alcoholic. She is more generous with the female relatives, even though they don't exactly support her while having some of the same problems.

The book breezes through her theatrical career with few stories other her going to auditions (she makes getting major roles at age 19 sound simple) or meeting a person (How can you have Cary Grant joke about marrying you and not mention him in more than just a short paragraph???? Or get picked up by Frank Sinatra and not say more than a paragraph about it????). She manages to tell almost nothing new about the big stars and producers she worked with.

She does talk about a couple of her affairs, which is kind of weird because she admits that her kids shouldn't be reading about them and she gives so little detail that it's an out-of-place addition to the book. The one-night stand with New York mayor John Lindsay is very tabloid and appears to be put in to sell the book--otherwise there would be nothing juicy to discuss on talk shows. The result is that you lose respect for her while she shifts the blame to others or her depression.
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I enjoyed this book. Seems like I am one of the "oldsters" now writing reviews. I knew of Florence Henderson from seeing her on game shows in the '60s. I also saw her nightclub act in the '60s: she has a beautiful voice. And I have seen a few of the Brady Bunch shows, but because I was a bit older than the kids on that show, I was not in the age group that the show was designed for. I bought this book because I'm a reader of biographies and memoirs. I'm curious about people, and what they've been through in their lives. She certainly went through a LOT more than I would have guessed from her cheery persona.

I was surprised at the kind of home life and parents she had. She told the truth in a very gentle or muted way. She just seemed to accept what she couldn't change when she was young. She really had a bad "deal" with her parents.

I guess that I wish she had been able to slow down a bit in her life, when she could have. She loves performing, and audiences no doubt love her singing, yet I couldn't help but feel that I wished she would stop"running" in her career, and try to just "be" for awhile, as a person. This is a book that female readers of biography/autobiography should find interest in, as I did.
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